Live by the schedule as a gift to yourself. Deferring to it will take many high-stakes, high-guilt decisions out of your day on a daily basis.
There’s only one viable time management approach left (and even that’s only really an option for the better-off). Step one: identify what seem to be, right now, the most meaningful ways to spend your life. Step two: schedule time for those things. There is no step three.
Timepieces were formerly an apt reminder that your time on Earth grows shorter with each passing minute. Public clocks would be decorated with mottos such as ultima forsan (“perhaps the last” [hour]) or vulnerant omnes, ultima necat (“they all wound, and the last kills”).
The question arose as to what we would do differently if we were immortal. […] I answered that I would travel more. Later the question was asked, what would you do differently if you found out you had only a short time to live. I answered again that I would travel more. Click, buzz, whirr…does not compute, does not compute. […] Given that I would travel more if I was to live either less or more, the probability that I was at just that level of mortality that I should not be traveling now must be vanishingly small.
Justin Wehr on how Community is awesome and so is TV but…
I don’t mean to be another pretentious I’m-above-TV guy, because I’m not. TV is above me. It dominates me, it makes me want to do nothing but sit in front of its glowing glory. In a real way, it scares me, because it shows me how powerless I am. […] The danger of TV and of passive entertainment more generally is not just that it takes time away from better things. The real danger is that it makes better things seem harder.
A couple months ago I set aside Sunday mornings as a sacred, no-interference-allowed time for books and nerdery. It’s a guaranteed 3-5 hours of learning. No regrets whatsoever. And then on Sunday afternoons I watch/play sports because that’s what you do.
He who bestows all of his time on his own needs, who plans out every day as if it were his last, neither longs for nor fears the morrow. For what new pleasure is there that any hour can now bring? They are all known, all have been enjoyed to the full.
Look back in memory and consider when you ever had a fixed plan, how few days have passed as you had intended, when you were ever at your own disposal, when your face ever wore its natural expression, when your mind was ever unperturbed, what work you have achieved in so long a life, how many have robbed you of life when you were not aware of what you were losing, how much was taken up in useless sorrow, in foolish joy, in greedy desire, in the allurements of society, how little of yourself was left to you; you will perceive that you are dying before your season!
Family first? This is one of the best things I’ve read recently.
I can think of a few questions to gauge what is important to someone:
If you could only achieve one thing in your life, what would it be?
If you could only spend your life doing one thing, what would it be?
If you could only know one person in your life, who would it be?
How do you want to be remembered?
How do you want to be perceived right now?
Whose respect do you most hope to earn?
Whose admiration do you most hope to earn?
Whose love do you most hope to earn?
What ideas/principles are you willing to die for?
Who are you willing to die for?
What is the most meaningful thing you can do with your life?
What is the best way you can spend your time?
What is the best way you spent your time today?
If you knew you had only weeks to live, how would you spend your time?
If you knew you had only hours to live, how would you spend your time?
If you knew you had only minutes to live, how would you spend your time?
Of all the things in your life, which would you be the most sorry to lose irrevocably?
What would you most like to gain in your life?
Solid gold. By all means, read the whole thing.